North Korea. 1952. January. As the quiet snow gently falls, two Marines share a candy bar in a foxhole.
Suddenly, a grenade whistles out of the air and lands with a soft thud between them. One of the two, Ray Brennan, with a calmness that borders on the surreal, tosses aside the wrapper and falls on the grenade. The weapon detonates. Brennan looks up, winks and dies.
1960. That second Marine, the one untouched by death eight years earlier, is taking his vows to become a Franciscan priest. The Catholic Church asks him to adopt a new name to symbolize his new identity.
And so Richard Manning states the one he has chosen. Most are expecting to hear the name of a famous saint of long ago. But not those who know the story you now know.
Richard Manning becomes Brennan Manning, a name you may know from the books he has written, because what better thing to do than to take the name of someone who loved you enough to die for you?
As I write, and miracles unforeseen as you read, someone is even now falling on a grenade for the two of us, tossing aside their comfort and safety and yes, even their lives.
Our political and theological stances on this war are no longer significant. Their names are. Take those names into the courts of heaven when you pray. Take them into your hearts and keep them on your lips. Honor them for their love.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 5:13, NIV.
Rick Cupp is a minister at the Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai. Sunday Bible classes for all ages are at 10 a.m. and worship is at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday classes and worship are at 7 p.m.
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